Braising the Brazilian flavours

Rio calling

Braising the Brazilian flavours

His trombone sings a euphonious jazz tune as he powerfully pulls it back and forth. His melodic scores on the saxophone are a treat to the ears. Raul DeSouza, the Brazilian virtuoso, got the City grooving to his hit singles through his upbeat, ‘carnivalesque’ dancing rhythms from his latest albums.

With Raul on the trombone and saxophone, Leonardo Montana on the piano, Glauco Solter on the bass and Mauro Martins on the drums; ‘The Raul DeSouza Jazz Quartet’ recently pulled off a power-packed performance at Windmills Craftsworks, Whitefield. 

A famed multi-instrumentalist and composer, Raul’s distinctive and delightful notes created a benchmark in a City filled with loyal disciples for electronic dance music. Raul says, “Bengaluru is an incredible place and I enjoy the audience here. They are better listeners as compared to the ones back home. The food is very different and new to me as I am not used to too much spice. Even Indian music is a new concept for me. I am impressed with the rhythm in Indian music and Ravi Shankar is my favourite Indian musician.”

Raul DeSouza is acclaimed for recording with top-notch musicians like Sergio Mendes, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira. He has participated at international jazz festivals and after living in the United States for many years, he is now playing and composing in Brazil.

Acclaimed by international critics as one of the greatest trombone players in the world, Raul’s hands are full of skills for playing percussion instruments as well.

A trailblazer of the ‘souzabone’, an electric trombone set at C which Raul himself invented, Raul says, “The souzabone is a very unique instrument. For instance, it allows various other notes to be played like the bass and brings in harmonies. Though the trombone and the souzabone aren’t mainstream instruments like guitars or the keyboard, I hope more and more musicians use it.”

Although essentially a jazz artist, Raul is quite versatile in fusion, pop-jazz, Brazilian jazz, funk and disco. He recalls the period of jazz revival in USA and says,  “In 1974, I was in USA, the pioneer of jazz. I was performing funk music with George Duke. I was very sad because jazz was less successful. I had to play more commercial music like disco and then rap. The 80s was a complete disaster as jazz was absent. Now, musicians like Winton Marsallis are working in the way to develop jazz by conducting workshops with students and teaching them its roots.

Hopefully he will set up more and more jazz listeners in the world.” Though Raul is a pioneer in the bonafide musical genres of Brazil, especially ‘Bossa’ and ‘Samba’, one can hear flavours of jazz when he plays bossa and samba and vice versa. “I was the first musician playing this kind of fusion in Brazil. At that moment, it was like a scandal as it sounded too modern for the audience. The jazz flavours incorporated in genres of music in Rio wasn’t accepted by all. However, I continued to play.  Improvisation in jazz is my way of life.”


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